Best Roller Stands

Updated January 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Pros
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

59 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
3 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best roller stands

A roller stand is an invaluable support device that you will find in all kinds of workshops from heavy industrial to home woodworking. It provides a freely rolling surface for workpieces to pass over, making sawing, planing, and other work easier.

When set up properly, a roller stand can allow one person to handle long pieces of material and undertake jobs that would otherwise take two people to do. While straightforward in concept, roller stands come in a number of different designs.

We at BestReviews have been taking an in-depth look at the construction and capabilities of roller stands so we can help you pick the right one for your situation. Our favorites represent both high-performance options and budget solutions, so there is something here to fulfill most requirements. We look at the key features in detail in the following roller stand buying guide.

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The weight of your roller stand isn’t an issue if you’re using it in the shop, but if you’re lifting it in and out of a truck every day, you’ll want to think about the balance between weight and the support required.

Key considerations

Types

There are four main types of roller stand: standard, flip-flop, three-in-one, and tilting.

Standard: This roller stand is the most basic. It consists of a plain roller running in one direction on ball bearings on top of an adjustable base. A variation on this has anywhere from two to five rollers fixed in a frame. This gives a larger support area, but the rollers still work in the same way.

Flip-flop: This roller stand has a roller as described above on one side and a set of large round bearings on the other. These allow for easy movement in multiple directions. The name comes from the fact it’s quick to flip from one type of roller to the other.

Three-in-one: This is like the flip-flop design, but the third side consists of a simple flat plate. It can be used as a rest and the workpiece won’t move about.

Tilting: This roller stand uses two narrower, side-by-side rollers instead of one. The rollers can be adjusted independently at different angles up to 45° from the horizontal, thus offering tremendous flexibility in terms of the shape of the workpiece the roller stand can support. A variation on this is the pipe stand in which the two rollers are fixed at a 45° angle, providing a V for the pipe to sit in.

Legs

The other major visual difference is the kind of legs. The most basic are made from tubular or square-section steel in an inverted T shape. These can be quite wide to maximize stability, so you might want to check the dimensions in case they would present a trip hazard. Invariably the legs are hinged so they can be folded up when not in use. You may even find it convenient to rig up a bracket to hang them on a wall.

On the downside, the T-shaped legs cannot be adjusted for leveling. You’ll either need to ensure your floor is already level or shim up the legs in some way if it isn’t. That is never an ideal solution because it can compromise stability.

A tripod design is popular because of the inherent stability, and other roller stands have four legs. On both three- and four-legged models, you’ll often find that the leg heights adjust independently, which is very useful for leveling.

The downside of the three- and four-legged type is that they don’t fold down for storage.

Long cylindrical objects are difficult to control with standard roller stands. The solution is a pipeline roller, which is either a single roller shaped like an hourglass fixed horizontally, or two angled rollers providing a V for the cylinder or tube to sit in.

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Features

Weight rating

Perhaps the most important factor for many people is the weight rating of the roller stand — the maximum it can safely support — which can be anywhere from 100 pounds to as much as 2,000 pounds. The leg design is important here.

  • T-shaped models are often rated to about 200 pounds.
  • Four- legged models hold up to 500 pounds.
  • Tripods (heavy-duty) can take loads of 1,500 pounds or more.

It’s fairly clear from the construction where the strength lies, with pressed steel forming the structure of those in the middle range, but solid castings are the strongest.

Rollers

The rolling components are almost always made of steel, which is then either galvanized or chrome plated to prevent rust. Other parts may be painted or powder coated. The latter is more resistant to scratches.

The width of the rollers may be a factor. Plain rollers and multiple bearing heads often stick up higher than their fixing brackets, so it’s possible to run wider material over them, but you shouldn't take it for granted. On some models (notably three-in-ones) the end plates that hold the rollers can get in the way.

Adjustment

You may want to consider the maximum and minimum height adjustments because roller stands vary considerably. Some offer a couple of feet while others are less than a foot.

It’s obviously important that the height adjustment is secure, particularly when heavier loads are involved. In many cases, the adjustment is simply by a knob or twist handle rotating a threaded bar that clamps against the sliding part holding the roller head. It’s quite effective, but if the thread gets stripped it’s very difficult to repair.

In some, the upper sliding section that holds the roller is wedge shaped. So while a screw handle is used to set the height, the stand is not actually relying on the clamping force of that screw. Instead, it’s simply restricting the space available, and because of the wedge shape, it actually gets tighter the more force is applied.

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Did You Know?
You can buy polyurethane-coated rollers that give extra grip if you’ve got material that slides around. We’ve been unable to find one attached to a stand, but it does come on a bracket with fixing slots, so it could be mounted on a bench or adjustable trestle.
Staff
BestReviews

Roller stand prices

Inexpensive: Cheap roller stands start at about $20. They’re fine for occasional light-duty work, but load ratings are often modest, and the durability of the threaded components isn’t always great.

Mid-range: Most people will find what they need for between $30 and $80. Within this range, you’ll find very good single roller, three-in-one models and several tilting roller stands.

Expensive: Heavy-duty models capable of supporting 400 pounds and more can exceed $100, as can those with multiple fixed rollers and adjustable length roller stands. The latter can be as much as $300, but these are more of a package-handling device than something used for workpiece support.

To keep your roller stand operating smoothly, lubricate it regularly with lightweight oil. Avoid petroleum-based sprays, which leave a residue that can trap grit and do more harm than good.

Staff
BestReviews

Tips

Even the most complex roller stand is still a straightforward device and inherently pretty safe. Nevertheless, there are a few things worth checking before you start work.

  • Make sure the roller is running freely. Lubricate it if necessary.
  • Check that the fixings are tight. Particularly those that adjust height. The last thing you want is for the roller head to come crashing down under load.
  • Make sure the material is level. Long material can bend, so if you’re using a roller stand for in-feed or out-feed (with a machine like a planer for example), ensure that the roller is close enough for the material to remain level. You may need more than one roller stand to accomplish this.
  • Plan the work path. A combination of vertical load and horizontal force could knock over your roller stand, which could spoil your project as well as be dangerous. Plan the work path, making sure everything is stable and that any shift in load won’t unbalance things.
  • Enlist help if you need it. Sometimes you can’t manage everything yourself, so get help in managing the material when necessary. Ensure that you or your friend can stop any machinery quickly.
  • Keep children away from the roller stand. If you’re working in a home workshop, keep children well away from the rollers. The machinery has the potential to cause nasty finger injuries.
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Rubber feet on the legs reduce the chances of the stand moving about and help protect floors from getting chipped or scratched. However, despite their low cost, they aren’t always included.

FAQ

Q. What’s the difference between a roller stand and a roller conveyor?

A. A conveyor usually has several sets of rollers, providing an extended platform rather than just a single support. It’s often used in warehouses for moving goods along. However, it can be confusing when you see something called an “adjustable roller stand,” which might describe either device.

Q. Which type of roller stand is the most stable?

A. Technically, a tripod gives the greatest stability when compared with the typical four-legged version or those with horizontal bar feet. A tripod always has all three feet on the ground, so it’s stable on virtually any surface (which is why this type is so popular). However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s level or offers adequate support, so be sure to check that before starting work.

Q. Can I make my own roller stands?

A. It’s certainly possible, and there are several sets of plans and video instructions for making roller stands online. They can be a very cheap alternative. However, it’s worth thinking about the weight they can support, the precision you need, and the durability you expect. If it’s for simple support, that’s fine. If you’re using it as the out-feed of a thickness planer, for example, any inconsistency could have a negative impact on the finished product.

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